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South Carolina at Florida: Three keys

What the Gamecocks need to have a chance in this one.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Can the South Carolina Gamecocks bag another surprising top-3 upset on the road this week against the Florida Gators? If so, these are the ingredients they’ll likely need to pull that off.

Play better along the offensive line

It’s never a good thing to be shuffling this unit around, but after a poor performance against Tennessee, the Gamecocks are stuck doing just that. While quarterback Collin Hill shares some responsibility for taking a couple bad sacks against the Vols, he was consistently pressured and harassed — and just isn’t mobile enough to paper over the line’s deficiencies without getting the ball out quickly. Hopefully, this unit either steps up or offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is able to scheme a little better around it, because the Gamecocks won’t be able to see what they have in the receiving corps — or effectively move the chains — if they can’t keep Hill upright.

Force a turnover or two

It may be cliche, but this is pretty much the No. 1 ingredient of an upset, and rings especially true when you recall Israel Mukuamu’s hat trick against Georgia in South Carolina’s stunning win last year. After the secondary got off to a less-than-stellar start last week — owing in part to Mukuamu’s injury, which will be something to watch today — it’ll be interesting to see what defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson draws up to handle the Gators’ prolific passing attack. The Gamecocks will have their hands full.

NO SPECIAL TEAMS MISTAKES

We’re all obviously still smarting about that botched punt return against Tennessee, but there was more to dislike from this phase of the game. Punting was horrendous, and although coach Will Muschamp was complimentary of the kick and punt coverage units, I thought they allowed too many yards to Vols returners — between the woeful kicking and coverage, it felt like Tennessee was setting up shop close to plus territory every time they had the ball. Stating the obvious here, but you can’t give a potent offense like Florida’s excellent field position, and especially not every time they touch the ball.